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Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule allow parents the right to see their children’s medical records?


Yes and No. The Privacy Rule generally allows a parent to have access to the medical records about his or her child, as his or her minor child’s personal representative when such access is not inconsistent with State or other law.

There are three situations when the parent would not be the minor’s personal representative under the Privacy Rule. These exceptions are:

  1. When the minor is the one who consents to care and the consent of the parent is not required under State or other applicable law;

  2. When the minor obtains care at the direction of a court or a person appointed by the court; and

  3. When, and to the extent that, the parent agrees that the minor and the health care provider may have a confidential relationship.


Parental access would be denied when State or other law prohibits such access. 

Finally, as is the case with respect to all personal representatives under the Privacy Rule, a provider may choose not to treat a parent as a personal representative when the provider reasonably believes, in his or her professional judgment, that the child has been or may be subjected to domestic violence, abuse or neglect, or that treating the parent as the child’s personal representative could endanger the child.


Why don't parents have unlimited access to their children’s medical records?


Over the past several decades, adolescents have gained many opportunities to receive confidential health care services, particularly for concerns related to sexual activity, pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), substance abuse, and mental health. From both a clinical and a public policy perspective, protection of confidentiality for adolescents has been based on recognition that some minors would not seek needed health care if they could not receive it confidentially, and that their forgoing care would have negative health implications for them as well as society.


Concerns about privacy prevent adolescents from seeking care.

Adolescents and the professionals who provide their health care have long expected that when an adolescent is allowed to give consent for health care, information pertaining to it will usually be considered confidential.

In the state of Alabama, minors of any age may consent to:

  • Contraceptive Services

  • STI Services

  • Prenatal Care

  • Adoption

  • Medical Care for Minor's Child

In the state of Alabama, minors 14 and older can consent to any and all medical care for themselves.

Source: Guttmatcher

What does this mean for Fort Payne Pediatrics and You?


When an adolescent is allowed to give consent for health care, information pertaining to it will usually be considered confidential. The minor child will need to sign any and all releases of information pertaining to their medical record when:

  • The minor is 14 or older

  • The minor has requested confidential services

  • The minor is pregnant

  • The minor is seeking health services to determine or treat pregnancy, venereal disease, drug dependency, alcohol toxicity, or other diseases that must be reported to the state Board of Health

  • The medical care is court-ordered

In any of the above situations, if a parent desires access to a child's medical records, the child must give signed consent.

Source: Guttmatcher

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